Proposed “Public Charge” Rule Will Bring Harm to Hardworking Families
Over the weekend the Trump administration announced a proposal to make it harder for immigrants to obtain a green card or visa. The Administration seeks to broaden the inadmissibility ground relating to a “public charge.” This ground applies if the intending immigrant is deemed likely by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to receive certain public benefits once they come to the United States. These benefits include but are not limited to Medicaid, food stamps or public housing.
Redefining Public Change
While the “public charge” inadmissibility concept is not new. The new proposed rule is a vast expansion of what is considered a “public charge.”
When the proposed rule is fully implemented it allows officers to deny hard working immigrants the opportunity to obtain a green card based on whether the person is likely to use public benefits. You read that right. It does not require actual use of public benefits only that an officer find that you may likely use public benefits in the future.
What the Department of Homeland Security Proposes
DHS proposes to make law the following as factors to determine whether an immigrant is a public charge: age; health; family status; assets, resources, and financial status; and education and skills. It allows an officer to say you are likely to become a public charge because you are too old or too sick.
DHS also proposes that it would consider an immigrant’s liabilities and information of such liabilities in a U.S. credit report and score as part of the financial status factor. This is an expansion on what was previously reviewed.
Effects of the Proposed Change
The proposal also penalizes those who have used public benefits in the past. The Trump administration says it will not create an “automatic finding” of inadmissibility due to previous public benefit use. However, application of the proposed rules as written includes previous use of benefits as a negative factor in its determination. Application of the rules as written would prevent many immigrants from securing lawful permanent residence, simply because they previously received some type of basic health care support, nutrition assistance, or other vital services. Services that they or their family members were eligible to receive!
This is another anti-immigrant policy with the goal of curtailing legal immigration. Fortunately, this proposal is not the law and we can help prevent it from becoming the law by voicing our opposition to it and pointing out its flaws through the upcoming public comment process